Colburn Park Historic District

Site: N10-19
Municipality: Lebanon, NH
Location: Downtown Lebanon
Site Type: Historic District
UTMs: (Zone 18) A.721760/4835770. B. 721800/4835420. C. 721500/4835420. D. 721470/4835710.

National Register Nomination Information:


The Colburn Park Historic District consists of twenty-three structures (nineteen of which are contributing) and several objects facing and including a large, rectangular green in the center of down town Lebanon called Colburn Park. Since the late 18th century, the town's buildings have grouped themselves around the common in rectangular fashion. Today, the streetscape combines residential, civic and commercial structures with styles ranging from Federal and Greek Revival to the eclectic modes of the late 19th century and the classically derived of the twentieth. The district includes all of the buildings facing the park as well as two buildings which face the pedestrian mall; the latter representing all that survive of the 19th century commercial district which once continued up Hanover Street.

Park Street surrounds the common on four sides, six streets feed into the park: Campbell Street from the northeast corner, Bank Street from the east, School Street from the southeast corner, Church Street at the southwest corner, Hanover Street to the west, and Court Street from the northwest. Hanover Street once entered from the northwest, through what is now the pedestrian mall (a major downtown fire in 1964 resulted in new streets, bridges, and traffic patterns as well as the mall). Sidewalks line each side of Park Street on all four sides. Parking spaces surround the common. Traffic islands mark the inter section of the various streets with Park Street, two of the islands, Campbell and at School Street, contain fountains. The siting of the buildings responds to the grid of the street layout but only the commercial and civic buildings on the north and west are built right to the street line. Those structures on the east and south sides of the park are set back on generous lawns surrounded by lush plantings and substantial trees, the street line defined by a border of granite curbing.

Regardless of the overall diversity of style, period and scale, each respective side of Park Street individually manages to present a unified image as a result of similar materials, heights, building types, design features and site qualities. The west side forms almost a solid wall of brick displaying typical late 19th century detailing. The rhythm of the brick buildings on the north side seems to climax at the central tower of the City Hall, the symbolic focus of the down town, with common design features including quoining and the rhythm of columns unifying the streetscape. Severed by Bank Street,the east side is comprised of a pair of elaborate frame residences of similar scale and siting balanced by a pair of brick institutional buildings. Finally on the south side the series of residential structures are marked by repeating details including Palladian windows with each end of the streetscape framed by a church steeple, the Congregational Church acting as another focal point of the district, balanced by the spire of the Baptist Church located down School Street in the distance.

Descriptions begin at the northwest corner of the park and then continue clockwise, ending with the park and non-shelter objects.

1. Mascoma Savings Bank, (67 North Park Street), 1950, non-contributing.
A two-story brick structure with a flat roof built on the site of the Blodgett Block. Windows are anodized aluminum with smoked glass, tall rectangular windows are irregularly spaced on the first floor with horizontally oriented picture windows above. While different in style and period from other buildings in the district, this bank blends with the older buildings in terms of material and quoining details which imitate that on the City Hall.

2. Richards Block, (55-59 North Park Street), 1925.
A simple three-story block with a flat roof, its brick exterior laid in a Flemish bond. The first floor consists of two store fronts flanking three central doorways.Multilight doors and panelled doorjams add a Colonial Revival element.The plate glass display windows have wood frames featuring transoms with a series of vertical lights and bulkheads lit by square lights.above the first floor windows are doublehung 8/1 sash, rock-faced granite sills and a row of header bricks set on end for lintels. A flattened corbel-like cornice caps the Building. This structure was erected in 1925 after a 1923 fire destroyed the adjacent Meeting House and previous buildings on the site.A simple and unobtrusive neighbor for the City Hall next door which was built in 1923.

3. Lebanon City Hall, (51 North Park Street), 1923-4. Jens Frederick Larson (Larson & Wells), Architect.
Constructed in 1923 on the site of, and replacing the Meeting House-Town Hall destroyed by fire in that year after serving Lebanon for 130 years and standing on this site since 1849. Two stories high with cupola, this impressive Neo-Georgian structure is constructed of Flemish bond brick with glazed headers and details of granite and wood. The symmetrical facade features a central pedimented pavilion containing three bays elevated by a central stairway, and flanked by a single two story bay to each side, containing simple doublehung windows with 12 over 12 sash and adorned by a denticulated modillioned cornice. Granite panels between the floors commemorate the construction of the original meeting house in Colburn Park in 1792 and the construction of this town hall in 1923. Recessed behind each of the three arched door openings is a set of double panelled doors with a leaded glass fanlight above and a panelled embrasure. The tall windows of the central pavilion are also arched, containing Gothic sash, multiple panes and are topped by console keystones. They are flanked by paired Corinthian pilasters which rise from a stone course above the main doorways and support a modillioned pediment with central lunette. On the front ridge of the gable roof, the square wooden base housing the clock is quoined, as are the corners of the building, and supports an octagonal cupola with arched window openings and a domical roof topped by a weathervane. A single story concrete addition connecting midway on the east elevation was added c. 1970 to provide handicap access.

4. Rogers House, (39 North Park Street), 1911. John A. Fox, Architect.
Built as a hotel and designed by Boston architect, John Fox, this four story brick structure features a two story tetrastyle projecting portico. Buff brick pedestals support Ionic columns and a denticulated cornice. The second story balcony is adorned with wooden railings in star patterns. Windows are symmetrically arranged and are in pairs except for those above the portico and the smaller windows that mark where the facade recedes slightly. All of the windows have recently been replaced and are in keeping with the original design. Stone lintels and sills frame the windows while projecting beltcourses run along the top of the 1st and 3rd floors. Stone medallions mark where the volumes of the building intersect. Consoles above the 3rd floor are all that remain of an elaborate brick and limestone pediment which was removed for the fourth floor addition. Glass storefronts originally located on the first floor have been bricked in. The construction of the hotel was initiated by woolen industrialist, George Rogers, who sought to replace existing tavern inns. He donated $25,000 with an additional $70,000 contributed by the town. The Hotel Rogers closed operation in the 1960's and now serves as senior citizen housing.

5. Soldiers Memorial Building, (North Park Street), 1886-1890. Ferdinand Davis, Architect.
Reportedly the first building of its kind in the state, this two story brick structure was designed by a local veteran and architect as a memorial to veterans of all wars. Set on a granite foundation, the brick exterior laid in a stretcher bond and measures three bays across and four bays deep, capped by a slate hip roof.Marking the central entrance is a projecting low gable archway fronted by three granite steps. Characteristic of the Queen Anne style, decorative brickwork adorns the building including a course of soldier brick on edge between stories, gauged brick arches on the second floor flanked by soldier brick and a band of continuous brick corbelling at the cornice. Projecting from the top of the facade is a gabled parapet supported by two corbels flanking the central stained glass window on Polychromatic terracotta tiles fill the gable in checkerboard fashion, brick colored terra cotta also forms the gable capped by a finial and forms panels which read "Soldiers Memorial Building" and "1886". Decorative brick patterns and terra cotta rondelles and tiles also decorate the central archway. Above the natural wood panelled doubledoors is a stained glass lunette window. First floor windows are 2/2 doublehung with granite sills and lintels. The stained glass windows above have granite sills and were added after the building was completed. They include Masonic & Oddfellow windows, with others donated by families including one in memory of a local woman, Mary Kimball. Those on the east elevation were damaged by a hurricane and one was subsequently replaced. The central window was donated by the Relief Corps. The building is capped by a slender rectangular brick chimney located at the front of the roof ridge behind a louvered gable. The building was built almost entirely of local materials including brick and slate with oak from Storrs Hills used for the panelling. Only glass, hardware and terra cotta were not from Lebanon. Designed in 1884, the cornerstone was laid in 1886 with the dedication in 1890. In front of the building to the west, is a statue of a soldier added in 1891 as a gift of Colonel Frank Churchill, it was restored in 1973 To the east is a pile of cannonballs with two shells from the Spanish American War, Battleship Maine flanking the walk.

6. Gulf Station, (Roy's Gulf, 3 North Park Street), c. 1950, non-contributing.
This single story brick service station was built on the site of the Garrish Mansion, a large 2-1/2 story house in the French Second Empire style. Clothed in "Neo-Colonial" detailing, the station contains three service bays with an office marked by a horizontally-sided pediment with cornice returns, a circular vent and dentil course. The gable roof is capped by a cupola while colonial lanterns illuminate the gas pumps.

7. Frank C. Churchill House, (3 Campbell Street), 1892 John A. Fox, Architect.
This three story frame structure was designed by Boston architect, John Fox in 1892 for prominent Lebanon resident Col. Frank Churchill who served as Inspector of Indian Affairs under President Theodore Roosevelt. An excellent example of Queen Anne architecture featuring asymmetrical massing and a variety of surfaces and volumes, retaining much of its detailing. At the heart of this three story house is a rectangular box capped by a steeply pitched hip roof with a lesser hip roof emerging Perpendicularly from the south facade, a gable fronted bay on the west and an octagonal three story tower with a flared polygonal cap roof at the southwest corner, a gable roofed dormer on the south facade and a single story wing at the rear. The first story and third story of the tower are sheathed in clapboards while the second story and gables feature wood shingles in staggered butt, hexagonal, wavy and fish scale patterns. The one story entrance porch with posts is located on the south facade. An open verandah with a ornamental wooden railing and latticework originally encircled the southwest corner originating at the entrance porch. The gable fronted bay on the west facade is supported by consoles above the three sided bay on the first floor. A balconette at the second floor level has been removed as have shutters on the first floor of the tower and south wing. The windows are predominantly doublehung with varying sash arrangements including one over one, 8/8, a 15/15 in the tower and a lattice-like casement in the gable. The roof of the tower is adorned with finial and a tall rectangular chimney rises from south wing, its cap has been removed. Left by the Churchills to the Town of Lebanon as a boarding house for retired ladies,this house was later sold for apartments.

7A. Carriage House/Barn. At the rear is a 2/1/2 story carriage house capped by an asphalt sheathed hip roof and central pyramidal ventilator. Like the main house it displays clapboarded walls with shingle details.

8. Carter Homestead, (Campbell-Carter House, 1 Bank Street), 1848 and 1895. Ammi B. Young, Architect (1848).
As is suggested by its complex plan, this house is the product of two distinct building periods. As originally designed by native Lebanon architect, Ammi Burnham Young in 1848, the house featured a cross gable plan capped by a central square tower adorned by brackets and arched openings, with single story porches filling the spaces between gables. It closely resembled #10 Bank Street located across the street.

The basic cross gable plan survives today though a fire in 1895 resulted in extensive alterations in the Colonial Revival style including the replacement of the central tower with a three story flat-roofed tower at the southwest corner projecting from the facade. It is crowned by a denticulated and modillioned cornice with spindle balustrade Next to the tower on the facade and fronting the central gable is an offcenter entrance porch marked by a wide flat roof supported by two groups of three Roman Doric columns above granite steps with an attenuated spindle balustrade. The wide front door is flanked by sidelights and a fanlight filled with curvilinear tracery.In the gable above the entrance is a tripartite window, each section capped by a blind fan. Filling the niche between gables to the north is a single story rectangular bay capped by a balustrade. Large brackets mark the projecting eaves. Windows on the building include wide 1/l doublehung with 6/1 sash in the tower. Several picture windows with lattice transoms are also found on the building. Most of the windows are flanked by blinds. Located in the gable on the south elevation is a tripartite round arched set of windows, a detail frequently seen in Young's work. A single story porch spans the rear of the house angling out, echoing the rear projecting gable. Porch posts are a mix of original chamfered and Roman Doric dating to the Colonial Revival additions. Aligned with the northern elevation of the main house is a single story ell with shed dormer spanning the south slope and three gable dormers on the north. The ell is thought to be the earliest part of the house, serving as the ell to the Colburn-Parkhurst Street house, the first occupied homesite in the center village, moved in 1848. The doorway on the south side is flanked by full sidelights with pilasters supporting an entablature. An iron bootscraper survives on the granite steps in front of the door.

Two gilt reclining lions flank the front walk. Embraced by the Carter Family as their symbol, the house was also known as "Lionhurst" during their residency. The lion form is also visible in the Carter Fountain, west of the house, in the middle of Park Street. Owned and operated by the Marion J. Carter Trust, the structure houses the collections of the Lebanon Historical Society and serves as a community meeting space for several other organizations.

9. Lebanon Public Library, (9 East Park Street), 1909. McLean & Wright, architects (1909), Fleck & Lewis (1984).
Embodied in this symmetrical one story structure is a exercise in classical vocabulary, combining Greek details with forms borrowed from Roman and Egyptian sources as well as abstracted designs. Constructed of buff colored Roman brick with Indiana limestone trim and wood and iron details, the front portion of the building is capped by a hip roof and is three bays wide with semicircular ends and a central pedimented extension in the front. A flat-roofed rectangular volume with central protrusion extends behind. Stone quoins articulate the corners with a stone water table wrapping around the building above the basement level windows. The two windows on the front facade are three part with single light sash and transoms of stained glass. Balconettes of iron with urns at the corners and an ornamental wheel in the railing are located in front of these windows. Simple stone sills and stone lintels with Greek fret blocks frame all of the building windows including the doublehung 1/1 on the other elevations. The projecting cornice is adorned by blocks and an egg and dart molding with a plain recessed frieze above.

Framing the front door are two Egyptian columns flanked by pilasters with recessed panels and rondels at the top, the arrangement known as a distyle in antis portico. Above the shouldered architrave door surround, consoles support the door hood with full entablature adorned by anthemia.

A stained glass transom, similar to those above all the windows, surmounts the front door. The frieze above bears the inscription "Lebanon Public Library". Iron lamp standards flank the central staircase. Two lamps of knowledge and an acroteria originally adorned the corners of the pediment and have been removed.

A rear two-story addition is currently under construction, translating the color, material and semi-circular curves of the original into a simple modern design which relates sympathetically to its predecessor. Construction of the library was made possible by a $12,500 donation from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie; remaining funds were donated by public subscription.

10. U.S. Post Office, (11 East Park Street), 1937.
This single-story, neo-Colonial structure is constructed of brick laid in a Flemish bond capped by a hip roof and measuring five bays wide with a central entrance above a flight of granite stairs. The two bays flanking the double-doored entry are framed by stone pilaster strips and feature tall multi-paned windows which rise to the plain stone frieze with panelled aprons located below. The outside bays each contain 6/6 window with segmental lintels constructed of radiating header bricks and wooden window frames adorned by projecting moldings and cornerblocks, the window form repeated on the side elevations. The structure sits on a foundation of smooth-faced blocks of granite. An octagonal cupola is centered on the ridge above a metal base, translucent panes of glass and capped by a weathervane. A single story wing with rear loading dock extends behind. Although this structure blends with the district, due to its date of construction (1937) and design characteristics, it is considered non-contributing within the district.

11. House, (1 School Street), c. 1840.
This 2-1/2 story gable front house, published in New Hampshire Homes in 1895 as one of the finest homes in Lebanon at that time, has unfortunately seen several alterations over the years including a brick veneer facade. Pilasters and peaked lintels like those on the side elevation have been removed or covered. Once protected by a four bay porch running the length of the first floor front the central pilaster door frame features a stained glass transom and 3/4 sidelights. A picture window is located next to the front door. The three sided bay window on the east elevation is adorned by brackets and dentils. Wide clapboards, acting like beltcourses run along the center of the doublehung windows on the side elevations. Above the paired brackets of the cornice the gable contains a pair of windows with peaked lintels and blinds surrounded by patterned shingles. A gabled dormer on the north side is similarly adorned by shingles. The two story gable roofed and clapboarded wing at the rear features simple rectangular lintels. In contrast to modern replacement 9/9 windows is a single 1/l window on the south elevation retaining its Queen Anne sash configuration of smaller panes surrounding a large glass, dating to 1896.Prominent local builder, Lyman Whipple, was owner of this house for many years and was responsible for the Queen Anne alterations. This structure acts as an important bridge between the residential streetscape of School Street and public buildings facing the Park, its scale and period is compatible with others in the district.

12. House, (2 South Park Street), 1842.
In 1842, local builder Alpheus Baker constructed this 2-1/2 story brick house on the corner of School and Park Streets, for William Willis. Originally facing School Street with a separate store building in the front yard, it was moved a quarter turn to face the common in 1854. A simple structure measuring three bays wide and four bays long, it features a sidehall plan. Rectangular granite lintels and sills and louvered blinds adorn the 6/6 doublehung windows. Behind the granite door surround, the leaded glass sidelighted doorway is recessed with a panelled embrasure. The eaves of the slate gable roof have a plain cornice with deep returns and no frieze. The two story gabled ell, a later addition, is clapboarded with a one story shed porch with panelled posts and connects the main house with the carriage house/4-car garage at the rear, turned to face School Street in 1889.

13. House, (4 South Park Street), c. 1830.
The date of construction of this 2-1/2 story clapboarded house is uncertain. Parts of this house could predate the others facing the park, in light of mid-18th century references to a "Mansion House" on this site. Owing to the mix of Federal and Greek Revival elements, a date of c. 1830 seems more probable for the construction of most of the house. The five bay facade is capped by a broad gable with its molded cornice and narrow frieze ending in cornice returns, supported by pilaster cornerboards. The 6/1 doublehung windows are capped by simple entablatures and framed by blinds. The central entrance features a rectangular portico supported by Roman Doric columns: the porch has been glassed in. Located above the entrance is a Palladian door opening featuring a blind fan and complete entablature the door opens onto a balcony formed by the roof of the entrance porch and enclosed by a simple metal railing. Set into the gable are two additional windows flanked by quarter blind fans. Both the porch and Palladian window are probably later additions in the Colonial Revival style. A single story porch addition is located on the east. A two story ell, also adorned by cornice returns, is offset to the southeast of the house and contains a doctor's office. A shed addition extends at the rear of the ell.

13A.Carriage House/Barn, (4 South Park Street). Clapboarded two story carriage house with two garage openings on its gable front with a second story arched door above each. Capped by a central square ventilator with peaked rectangular louvered openings and a pyramidal roof.

14. House, (8 South Park Street), c. 1819.
This 2-1/2 story brick house situated broadside to the street owes its basic form to the Federal style with deceivingly accurate embellishments added in the Colonial Revival period. The gable roof with returns was originally punctuated by four corbel-capped chimneys, one located on each slope of both gable ends. That at the southeast location has been removed. Simple rectangular lintels top the doublehung windows with 6/1 sash which are not original to the house but added in the early 20th century. Fashion and Colonial Revival fervor apparently also necessitated the removal of a "Victorian" two-story portico added in 1882 which was subsequently replaced by the present entrance. A circular portico with Corinthian columns shelters the fanlighted six panel door framed by leaded sidelights. Above the center entrance is a Palladian window set into an arched opening, it was added in the 20th century. A smaller Palladian window is located in the east gable. The rear two-story gable roofed ell dates to 1880 when the original ell (c. 1810) was torn down and rebuilt. Entrance on rear elevation is sheltered by a simple door hood. A single story porch supported by chamfered posts spans the east side of the ell which is sheathed in vinyl siding. Occupied by the same family from 1819 until 1984, the structure was recently converted to office space.

14A. Carriage House/Barn, (8 South Park Street), c. 1908.
Set back southeast of the main house, the carriage house replaces an earlier structure and was constructed in 1908. It is sheathed in vinyl siding on the first floor with green wood shingles above. A large recessed entrance is centered on the gable front, filled with modern glass doors. Its steeply pitched hip roof is capped by a square central ventilator with pyramidal roof. Hip roofed dormers are centered on each of the roof slopes. A two story gabled ell extends behind. Recently subdivided from the main house and converted to office space.

15. First Congregational Church, (10 South Park Street), 1828. Ammi Burnham Young, Architect.
One of the earliest known examples of the work of locally born architect, Ammi B. Young, who later achieved national prominence. Set back on a narrow and long lawn, this structure remains basically unaltered today, an important visual landmark in the downtown. The two story frame church structure measures five bays across with a narrow front portico, pavilion, and three stage tower protruding from the central bay of the pedimented facade. On the first floor, the three center bays are filled by eight panelled doors capped by blind fans and arched doorframes. Remaining fenestration on the facade consists of doublehung windows with 12/12 sash and single wooden sills and lintels, flanked by blinds. Paired wooden Greek Doric columns set on granite blocks, support the full entablature of the entrance portico, the entasis of the columns echoed in the bulging pilasters behind. On the second floor, a 12/12 doublehung window capped by a blind fan is framed by paired pilasters supporting an entablature with triglyphs above which a broad pediment rises, the form repeated in the main pediment of the facade which features a triangular recessed panel on each side of the tower. Mutules with incised holes adorn the corona of the small pediment, a detail made popular by architect Asher Benjamin. The square base of the tower contains; a doublehung window set in a recessed archway with modillions at the cornice. On each side of the second stage is a segmental arched opening with keystone capped by a low pediment, with an urn articulating each corner. The tall arched openings of the upper stage are filled with louvers, capped by a keystone and flanked by paired Roman Doric columns which are set in an angle at the corner. The modillioned cornice acts as a base for the octagonal drum above featuring paired consoles on alternating sides and supporting a small domical vault and weathervane. The present bell dates to 1881. The side elevations are three bays wide, each containing an elongated 6/6 doublehung window with storm windows. The appearance of the tall windows was originally heightened by the location of aprons below. The interior square balcony which made possible the long windows letting in more light, is a marked improvement over earlier horseshoe balconies which necessitated smaller, double tier windows. Use of the rear balcony is considered an early innovation of church architecture in this region. The detailing of the three arched entrance openings and the tower as well as the plan of the church are all directly copied from Plate K in Asher Benjamin's, The American Builder's Companion. Various additions have been added over the years. Directly behind the main building on the east elevation is a gabled section fronted by a smaller gabled addition adorned by a lunette. A single story porch capped by a low hip roof is located at the rear. A circular stained glass window is located on the west side as is a bay window. A paved parking area is located at the rear.

16. Lebanon Fire Station, (South Park Street), 1954, non-contributing. Hudson & Ingram, Architects.
This two story, flat-roofed brick structure measures four bays wide with four openings for vehicles on the facade, framed by three pilasters of concrete carrying a belt course above the second floor with stone courses also above the garage openings. The large second story openings have been blocked down with vertical boards and each contain a single window. The parapet wall contains panels which read "1873", "Lebanon Fire Station", and "1954". The long side elevations step down in height less the parapet with a single story wing at the rear.

17. National Bank Building, (16-20 West Park Street), 1893. William Butterfield, Architect.
This four story commercial building constructed of stretcher bonded brick is five bays wide and five bays long. Above the first floor each bay is framed by brick piers, which at the fourth story level become paired pilaster strips with Corinthian capitals and are topped by granite brackets which support a panelled brick cornice. With the exception of the building ends on the 3rd and 4th floors and the second story central bay on the facade which contain three windows, all other bays consist of two windows. All are doublehung with 1/1 sash.

Adorned by patterned brickwork on the third and fourth floors, and rock-faced granite belt courses, string courses and sills, the variety of patterns and contrast of materials is indicative of late 19th century architectural modes. In contrast to the rectangular windows used throughout the building, the openings of the 3rd floor are topped by segmental brick lintels, the rhythm echoed in the brick patterns of the spandrel areas below. As originally designed, this building was meant to be reflective of its steel frame construction with a high proportion of glass; an effect which was greatly altered by the blocked out windows added in recent years. The first floor fenestration has been greatly changed with original expansive glass storefronts replaced by more and smaller windows. Between the 2nd and 3rd floors on the main elevation is a granite panel bearing the words "Bank Building 1893". A one-story drive-in teller unit has been added in the rear parking lot area. The rear walls of the structure are unornamented. Designed by a prominent Manchester, N.H. architect this building replaces an earlier bank which previously stood on the site of the Library, thought to have been designed by Ammi Young. The National Bank Building is one of the earliest commercial structures remaining in Lebanon center, others were destroyed by fires in 1887 and 1964.

18. Whipple Block, (2 West Park Street), 1882. Ferdinand Davis, architect.
A three story stretcher bonded brick commercial block fronting the corner of West Park Street and the Mall with an obliquely-angled facade. The corner is clipped containing a single bay which is flanked by a five bay wide portion fronting Park Street and measuring nine bays wide facing the mall. It is constructed of Lebanon brick with the foundation stone coming from Lebanon quarries at Mount Support and the stone for sills from nearby Grafton. The first floor was modernized c. 1930 with four recessed plate glass store fronts adorned by geometric patterned black and white glass transoms and signage characteristic of the Art Deco period. Bulkheads are of aluminum and glass with glass blocks framing the southernmost storefront. Visible through the glass are covered columns possibly replacing earlier more decorative columns. The store fronts on the mall have polished granite bases of modern design. The windows on the upper floors are arranged in a random pattern alternating paired and single windows, those on the second floor are rectangular doublehung with rectangular rockfaced granite sills and lintels. The third floor windows are capped by semi-circular corbel lintels with stone keystones and impost blocks and contain doublehung windows with lunette transoms and stone sills. Fronting the mall, the transoms above the paired windows contain circles divided in pie-shaped sections, filled with colored glass, those over the single windows are divided segmentally. Capping the building is a row of bricks on edge above which are several courses of brickwork highlighted by some blackened brick. Above are a corbel course and metal cornice.

Centered above the second story window on the corner is a white marble tablet which reads "Whipple"; the letters were originally gold. Below the window is a tablet reading "1882". Originally a large stained glass window occupied the second floor of the corner, marking the Masonic Hall within. In its original form the block was capped by a mansard slate roof level with the Bank next door, punctuated by three tall panelled brick chimneys with a corner pedimented tower which contained the Whipple tablet and bronze ornament. In addition to serving as a barrier to the great fires of 1887 and 1964, the building has survived two fires of its own in 1894 and in the 1930's, the latter causing the removal of the roof. Rear walls follow the fenestration pattern of the facade. Once a classic example of Queen Anne commercial architecture, until damaged by fire, the Whipple Block still retains significant period details. It was designed by local architect, Ferdinand Davis who was also responsible for the Soldiers Memorial Building.

19. Pulsifer Building, (10 Lebanon Mall), c. 1870.
Adjacent to the Whipple Block, fronting the mall is this two story brick building measuring three bays across, the first floor occupied by a recessed storefront with a polished granite base. Upper floor windows are 12/12 with granite sills and lintels. Capping the building is decorative brickwork including a course of soldiers on edge and a pattern alternating three vertical stretcher bricks with recessed crosses. Recessed vertical strips of brickwork mark the building edges in pilaster-like fashion. This structure is the oldest commercial building surviving in the downtown district.

20. Hildreth's Hardware, (9 Lebanon Mall), 1903.
Fronting the pedestrian mall is this two story, four bay wide brick commercial block whose stark side elevation is currently accentuated by the lack of a building on the vacant lot to the east. Articulated by piers, the first floor storefront consists of two large display windows flanking a recessed entrance with the fourth bay occupied by a door to the upper floor. The lintel with panelled pieces above each post is partially obscured by a sign. On the second floor level doublehung windows with contrasting voussoirs and keystones are set in arched recesses featuring stone keystones and impost blocks. A corbelled brick cornice runs along the top of the structure. Hildreth's has occupied this site since 1856. The old wooden building previously on the site burned in 1903. Though,like the Pulsifer Building, this structure fronts the Mall rather than the park it remains one of the few commercial structures to survive the fires of 1887 and 1964, and acts as a visual link to the downtown's former historic configuration, when Hanover Street was a busy commercial thoroughfare rather than a pedestrian mall.

21. Colburn Park, 1792 and 1850.
Surrounded on four sides by Park Street, this rectangular plot of land measuring roughly 400 x 235 feet has served as a common continuously since 1792 when it was sold by Robert Colburn, as a site for the meeting house. Occupying the north triangle, the meetinghouse stood in the park until 1850 when it was moved to the present site of the City Hall. Both the Croydon and Fourth New Hampshire Turnpikes crossed here until traffic was diverted around the common in 1866. A fence consisting of granite posts and fleur-de-lis pickets of iron, both made in Lebanon, outlines the park. Wooden benches are scattered on the grounds. Many original elm trees have died over the years. Remaining trees include American Elms, Oaks, Mountain Ash, Norway, Sugar, and Japanese Maples, Honey Locust and Colorado Spruce. Oldest trees in park are elms probably about 80 years old. Wood fences to prevent walking on the grass have been removed as was a watering fountain in the center, a horse fountain across from the National Bank and iron settees throughout the park.

A children's playground occupies the southeast corner. Located in the southeast corner is a stone tablet with bronze plaque surrounded by a circle of granite curbing commemorating World War I casualties from Lebanon.

21A. Information Booth/Bandstand, c. 1960, noncontributing. Preceded by six or seven bandstands over time, this polygonal structure of concrete and brick is located due east.

22. Carter Fountain, (Park & Campbell Streets), 1898.
Appropriately relocated in front of the Carter Homestead, this fountain originally stood in Hough Square, in a much larger more grandiose form. Centered above a ground basin of Lebanon granite twelve feet in diameter and standing about five feet high is a circular basin of cast iron set on a cruciform-shaped base formed by decorative consoles embellished by pearl moldings and capped by lionheads, the symbol of the Carters. Elaborate curvilinear and geometric ornaments covers the fountain. The fountain originally stood in Hough Square, measuring nine feet high with a boy supporting a lily on the upper basin with a single stream of water. The lower basin originally had four streams of water.

Presented in memory of Henry W. Carter by his son in 1898, the fountain is an important visual in Downtown Lebanon, providing historic reference to the numerous fountains which once existed especially popular in the late 19th century.

23. School Street Fountain, (Traffic Island intersection of School and South Park Streets).
A cast iron fountain about 4-1/2 feet tall dating to the late 19th century. Above a hexagonal stone base, three downcast longnecked birds support a circular basin edged in leaf forms which curl over the sides. Originally located in front of Soldiers Memorial Building, one of a pair. Unique visual element in downtown streetscape, now used as a planter.


The Colburn Park Historic District in Lebanon figures significantly in the related areas of architecture and community planning. Comprised of a high concentration of architecturally interesting structures designed by both local and metropolitan architects and unknown builders, the district forms a panorama of architectural styles from the 19th and 20th centuries. Unifying the diversity of these structures is their common siting fronting Colburn Park, a fine variation of the New England common, dating to the late 18th century and affecting the plan of the downtown to the present day while acting as a sort of showcase for the structures surrounding it.

The formation of Colburn Park in the late 18th century and its continued preservation through the twentieth owe much to community planning achieved by a balance of public and private decisions. Lebanon's earliest settlers arriving in 1762, established themselves on the bank of the Connecticut River expressing their initial orientation southward. Settlement eastward was sporadic at first though as early as 1765 the first home site in the center village was occupied; with the Colburn house located roughly where the Carter Homestead is now situated. A nucleus of population began to grow in earnest at what is now Lebanon Center in 1792 after Robert Colburn sold his wheatfield to the town with the stipulation that a meetinghouse be constructed there. Located in the north triangle of what is now Colburn Park, it was to have a powerful influence on the siting of the downtown buildings around it. The completion of the Fourth New Hampshire Turnpike, linking Lebanon to the seacoast, and the incorporation of the Croydon Turnpike, both in 1804 further advanced Lebanon as a regional center of activity. The convergence of the two highways in the center of the common resulted in a proliferation of inns and taverns catering to those passing through town. Similarly, these two roads, now Bank and School Streets, were the first in the central village lined with residences. Downtown buildings logically grouped themselves around the meetinghouse nucleus. Owing to the location of the meeting house, it is not surprising that the first church to be built in town was constructed in Lebanon Center rather than East Lebanon or West Lebanon, other centers of population. The Congregational Church built in 1828 was quickly joined by a bank in 1829, located for many years on the present site of the library. However, it was not until the mid-century that the assets of the Mascoma River were utilized and urbanization begun. The demise of the mills in East Lebanon, the superiority of the water provided by the Mascoma River and the availability of railroad transportation and resulting lower freight rates made possible by the completion of the Northern Railroad between Concord and Lebanon in 1848, all encouraged the growth of Lebanon Center.

The future of Colburn Park was largely shaped by the decision in 1849 to move the Meetinghouse out of the common to the present site of the City Hall. The impetus for this decision is not clear in any of the records of the day. By that time all four sides were occupied by a mixture of residences and businesses with the lavish residence of H.R. Campbell, (now Carter Homestead) railroad executive, just completed within the last year according to the designs of Ammi Young. In 1850 it was voted that the village could grade face and ornament the common but it was not until 1860 that the legislature offset the turnpikes resulting in the erection of the iron pickets and granite posts which survive today and turning former roads to footpaths within the common.

The streetscape around the green was also continually evolving throughout the mid 19th century. In the 1850's, at least two stores were physically moved to locations elsewhere in town for use as tenements, in an apparent attempt to order the downtown to a greater degree.

A major fire in 1887 which destroyed some eighty buildings on 12 acres in Central Lebanon, historically isolated the downtown buildings around the common as the path of the fire was stopped at the Pulsifer Block on what was then Hanover Street (now the Lebanon Mall) sparing the district. Nearly the entire manufacturing community was wiped out as were many residences, tenement houses and business buildings. Despite the effects of the fire on local industry, Lebanon's population between 1880 and 1890 increased. Rapid regrowth, a building boom and general optimism resulted in the construction of a number of downtown structures during this period including the National Bank, Churchill House and Soldiers Memorial Building. The formal arrangement of impressive buildings around the Perimeter was expedited by the further relocation of residential structures on the north side, to make room for new structures, many of which were moved northward to Flynn Street where they still stand. A fire in 1923 which destroyed the Town Hall, necessitated public decisions involving the layout of the downtown, the result being a new focal point for the downtown in the form of the Town Hall and adjacent Richards Block and a successful design which manages to unify the streetscape in terms of materials and common design features. The final factor shaping the plan of the district was Lebanon's second major fire in June, 1964, which destroyed twenty downtown buildings in much the same location as the fire of 1887, sweeping away many structures which had been rebuilt at that time. The path of the fire once again was blocked at the Pulsifer and Whipple Blocks and Hildreth's leaving them sole survivors of a once bustling commercial area extending down Hanover Street. The resulting pedestrian mall and new traffic patterns and demolition conducted in the name of Urban Renewal have only served to insulate and strengthen the unified sense of the park and surrounding streetscape. Beginning in the 1790's, a combination of private and public decisions have managed to safeguard and preserve the formal relationship between open space and built form which makes Colburn Park and surrounding environs a unique and fine example of the New England common.

The assemblage of buildings of the Colburn Park District represents a cross section of American architectural styles, during the 19th and 20th centuries, with potential diversity unified by varying adaptations of classical detailing and principles. Each building embodies distinctive characteristics of its period. It is interesting to note that three different architects are each represented by a pair of designs in the district, giving us unusual insight into the variety of their work.

The residential structures on the south side comprise as a group the earliest structures in the district, a credit to the work of unknown local builders who developed formal symmetrical designs enriched with classical designs. Each of the structures survives basically intact, two retain carriage houses, though Colonial Revival elements were added to embellish the structures in the early 20th century. The hand of architect Ammi Burnham Young born in Lebanon in 1798 is evidenced in two of the structures facing the park. Young later achieved national prominence as Supervising Architect of the U.S. Treasury, designing countless custom houses across the country including those at Boston and Windsor, Vermont as well as the Vermont Statehouse and buildings at Dartmouth College. One of the earliest known examples of Young's work is the Congregational Church, constructed in 1828. Details borrowed from Asher Benjamin's American Builder's Companion and Young's own talent combine to make the church an unusually fine example of the Federal style church of the Asher Benjamin type in the region. The use of the rear balcony which made possible longer windows, letting in more light, a marked improvement over earlier horseshoe balconies and two-tier windows, seems to be an early innovation in Church architecture of the region.

Later in his career, Young designed the Campbell-Carter House at the corner of Bank Street. An exercise in the more romantic Italianate style, the house was extensively altered in the Colonial Revival style in 1895 following a fire. In addition to brackets and bay windows, a tripartite Roman arch window, a detail frequently seen in Young's work survives on the Bank Street elevation.

Many of the downtown buildings are illustrative of the eclectic modes of the 19th century. The Whipple Block and Soldiers Memorial Building stand out as fine examples of Queen Anne architecture. Both were designed by local architect Ferdinand Davis (1840-1921) who came to Lebanon from Cushing, Maine in 1858 to learn a carpenter's trade. Each building retains significant period detailing including round arched openings, colored glass, brick detailing and polychromy between brick and stone and the use of terra cotta. A fire in the 1930's unfortunately resulted in the removal of a mansard roof and tall panelled chimneys which once further enlivened the silhouette of the Whipple Block.

Reportedly the first building of its kind in the State, the Soldiers Building was designed to be a memorial with civic usefulness rather than a simple statue or metallic shaft for the common as was previously proposed.

The construction of the National Bank Building in 1893 witnessed the introduction of Chicago skyscraper elements to downtown Lebanon. A fitting companion for the Whipple Block, especially before fire removed the latter's roof, thus altering its scale, the Bank was designed by prominent Manchester, New Hampshire architect, William M. Butterfield. In its original form the bank was meant to be reflective of its steel frame construction with a high proportion of glass articulated by a wealth of brick detailing. Though the effect has been lessened by insensitive window replacement, the Bank remains an important visual element in the downtown.

The work of Boston architect John A. Fox (1835-1920) is witnessed in two very different buildings in the district, a credit to the breadth of his designs as well as an indication of the variety of styles co-existing in the late 19th century. The Churchill House (1892) remains an excellent example of the Queen Anne style. Displaying a typical blend of clapboards and shingles embellished by a profusion of tower porches and other decorative elements, it was designed for prominent local resident Frank Churchill who served under President Theodore Roosevelt. In contrast, twentieth century classical revival ideals are well represented in the Rogers House (1911), also by Fox.

Typical of many Carnegie funded libraries across the country is the didactic exercise in classic vocabulary embodied in the Lebanon Public Library (1909). Combining Greek details with forms borrowed from Roman and Egyptian sources and abstracted designs, it was designed by Boston architects McLean and Wright.

In contrast, the reliance on Colonial form for the Lebanon City Hall (1923) and U.S. Post Office (1937) is reflective of the search by twentieth century architects for a style which would be uniquely American and a repudiation of styles based on European forms and experience. These designs are typical of many governmental structures, a restrained composition which reflects a strong nationalistic self image as well as the growing popularity of Colonial Williamsburg motifs.* The City Hall was designed by Jens Fredrick Larson of the firm of Larson & Wells who designed similar works at Dartmouth College. Illustrations of the City Hall were published nationally in both Brickbuilder and American Architect and Building News.

Not surprisingly, the twentieth century has had its effect on the district. A plethora of road signs attempts to channel the disoriented out-of-town driver around the park. Parking spaces, street lights, traffic islands and commercial signage further complicate the downtown. Outside the district, the fire of 1964 swept away a 19th century commercial business district and replacing it with a prototypical Neo-Colonial pedestrian mall. Urban renewal left an empty lot in the downtown streetscape which as of yet has not been filled, but twentieth century intrusions thus far are limited to the fire station, bank and a service station. Modernization of the downtown buildings has been limited to new windows, several new storefronts and a single case of vinyl siding with the exception of 1 School Street (#11) these alterations have not been so extensive as to threaten the integrity of the downtown's architecture. Comprised of a fine example of the New England common, fronted by a series of buildings of architectural merit, the Colburn Park Historic District is certainly worthy of inclusion in the National Register.

* Due to its relatively recent date of construction, the post office is considered non-contributing within the district.


American Architect and Building News, v.127 no. 2465, p.l43-144, Feb. 11, 1925 (illus. Lebanon Town Hall).

Benjamin, Asher. American Builder's Companion. Boston, R.P. & C. Williams, 1827. Reprinted, New York, Dover Publications,1970.

Chapman, Bernard F. History in a Nutshell: A Brief History of Lebanon,NH. Lebanon: Lebanon Historical Society, 1961.

Downs, Charles A. History of Lebanon, N. H. 1761-1887. Concord: Rumford Printing Co., 1908

Granite State Free Press, selected editions 1848-1920 (Lebanon Public Library)

Lebanon Historical Society Annual Reports. 1959-1975 (Lebanon Historical Society, Lebanon Public Library)

Lebanonian, selected editions. Dec. 1897-Oct. 1899. (Lebanon Historical Society, Lebanon Public Library)

New Hampshire Homes. 2 volumes. Concord: James A. Wood, 1895.

Services at the Dedication of Soldier's Memorial Building, Lebanon, N.H., Lebanon: Press of A.B. Freeman, 1890.

Smith, Helen K. "History of Lebanon", Insight, Spring 1984, p. 8-14.

FORM PREPARED BY: Lisa B. Mausolf, Preservation Specialist, Upper Valley-Lake Sunapee Council, 314 National bank Building, Lebanon, NH 03766. Tel: 603-448-1680. Date: August 1984.

DATE ENTERED: January 10, 1986.
(Source 127)